Andrew Neil delivered a blistering defence of GB News last night, unleashing his fury at the companies “cowed” by a “fringe” group of “far-left agitators and cranks” who have decided to pull advertising from the channel.
The Thursday night intervention on Neil’s flagship Media Watch show follows successive days of big brands such as Grolsch, Nivea and Ikea announcing they will not advertise on the channel in the face of coordinated pressure in the Twittersphere.
Ikea and Vodafone later clarified they were not “boycotting” GB News, but would still avoid advertising on the news channel, which launched less than a week ago.
Speaking to camera in signature style, Neil launched a tremendous four-minute monologue in which he defended his channel’s reporting from across the United Kingdom “without a scintilla” of hate, contrary to the claims of the radical Stop Funding Hate campaign behind the boycott.
He rounded off by inviting GB News’ now-former commercial partners onto his current affairs show to debate their controversial decisions. “You’re in the politics business now,” he quipped.
“Woke nonsense has reached the boardroom,” announced Neil before blasting the executives for “becoming the useful idiot of bigots bent on censorship.”
Pointing the finger at the campaign behind the boycott, he told viewers that corporates “have all taken the knee to Stop Funding Hate. It is important they – and you – realise to whom they are in thrall.
“Stop Funding Hate does not stand for a liberal, inclusive society. It is dominated by far-Left agitators and cranks that push for advertiser boycotts of any media organisation with which it disagrees.”
Neil is well-versed in the dark arts of extreme-left cyber activists, following a similar boycott of the Spectator, which he used to be the editor of and retains strong links with. The right-leaning mag fought back, issuing its own ultimatum to corporate partners.
GB News is applying the same tactics, leveraging their might as a wildly popular news outlet with millions of Brits fed up with woke doctrine seeping into their television news bulletins.
Neil said: “GB News viewers are incensed with advertisers who’ve taken against us. Many have written to tell them so. And their numbers are growing. For three nights in a row, this show has been the number one rated show on any news channel available in the UK. Add our audience, friends, allies and sympathisers together and we can muster millions of supporters on social media. Not a good idea to be on the wrong end of them.”
Turning to the corporates themselves, Neil proudly stated, “so far not a single example of hate has been given to justify the boycott of this channel. This programme issues a standing invitation to the bosses of any company or agency that thinks to the contrary to come on air.
“We’ll look at your examples if you have them, we’ll discuss them together, our studio door is open. Because you’re in the politics business now, and that’s where you are when you succumb to political pressure, and then like politicians, you have to be held to account.”